If you’re new to working on your bike – or have never done any type of wrenching before – changing your brake pads is one of the easiest jobs to do. Other than a torque wrench you don’t need any special tools – just the usual spanners lying around the garage. Get some brake grease/lubricant and within no more than 10 minutes you’ll have replaced your old pads with nice new ones – saving yourself big dollops of money by not taking it to the mechanic.
If you’ve got a torque wrench and some spanners and some hex keys you’re just about good to go. When you buy your replacement pads, get some brake pad grease or lubricant. It’s placed on the backs of the pads and the pad pins to reduce brake squeal and noise. You can buy it in small sachets at most auto stores for a few dollars – don’t go buy a huge container of it.
First we’re going to loosen the pins that hold the brake pads in place. These slot through the calipers and can be loosened with a hex key generally.
Don’t remove the pins just yet, let them loosely sit in the caliper for now.
Next we want to remove the caliper from the bike. This allows us to maneuver the caliper around more easily and more easily access the pads. You’ll need to use a wrench or socket here to unscrew the bolts.
Once the bolts are removed, take the caliper and remove it from your bike and pull the pins out by hand.
If they don’t fall out by themselves, remove the pads.
A quick tip – don’t leave your caliper hanging and pulling down on the brake line. If you need to leave your bike, put the caliper back on the bike and just thread through one of the bolts by hand to hold it in place temporarily.
Get your brake pad lubricant and smear a small amount on the backs of the new pads and all over the pins. Don’t put too much on, just a fairly thin layer.
Time to install the new pads. First, take the pad that will rest against the pistons and put it in place. It will be shaped to sit snugly inside the caliper.
Then star threading one of the pins through and push it as far it will go – it will stop when it reaches the pad.
To get the pad pin through you need to simultaneously push down on the pad and push the pin in further – you’re wanting to whole on the pad to line up with where the pin comes through.
Do the same with the other pin.
Now get the other pad and insert it. Again, just push down on the pad so that the holes at the bottom of it line up with the pin and it will slot through.
One that’s done, return the caliper to your bike and tighten both the pad pins on the caliper and the bolts that attach the caliper to the bike.
Make sure you correctly torque all the bolts to the amounts as specified by your manufacturer – you don’t want your caliper coming loose heading into a corner.